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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 88-91

Serum alanine aminotransferase may not be a good surrogate marker of hepatitis c virus infection: A study of blood donors in university of maiduguri teaching hospital (umth), Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology Unit, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
M D Mohammed
State House Clinic, PMB 316, Garki, Abuja
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Prior to the identification of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 1989 , raised serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was used as a .surrogate marker for non-A, non-B (NANB) hepatitis agent s to reduce tile risk of post-transfusion hepatitis. Most of this NANB hepatitis was later found to be due to HCV infection. Tile absence of a national screening policy for HCV infection and the non­ availability of screening facilities in most of our health institution may place many blood recipients at risk of HCV infection. Aim: This study was set to evaluate the usefulness of serum ALT as a surrogate marke r of HCV infection in blood donors. Methodology: The study was conducted at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital between August 2002 to November 2002. Ninety-six healthy , volunteer, blood donors were screened for anti­ HCV using a third-generation ELISA test kits , and all had serum ALT levels measured. Result: Antibodies against HCV was detected in 10.4% of don ors and the overall mean serum ALT level was 8.84 (.:t5.6) iu / L. The mean serum ALT level for anti-H CV positive and negative was 7.7 (I2.45) and 8 .9 (.:t5.86) iu / L, respectively, of which, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Conclusion: While the prevalence of antibodies against HCV in blood donors appears to be high in north-eastern Nigeria , serum ALT levels may not be a good surrogate marker for HCV infection in blood donors in this environment.

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